Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Announces New President & CEO
March 4, 2019 – Janet LaBar, a seasoned regional economic development leader with strong communications, strategy and operations skills, has been named as the new president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. LaBar currently holds the same position at Greater Portland Inc (GPI), a regional public-private partnership that markets the Greater Portland metropolitan and helps companies expand and relocate to the region.
LaBar was selected following a four-month national search led by Patti Gillenwater, CEO of Elinvar, an executive search and leadership development firm based in Raleigh as well as an Alliance search committee. The committee included: Chair Jennifer Weber, executive vice president of human resources at Lowes; Jesse Cureton, Alliance chair and executive vice president and chief consumer officer at Novant Health; Donny Hicks, executive director of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission; Carol Lovin, executive vice president and system chief of staff at Atrium Health; and Russ Rogerson, president of the Iredell County Economic Development Corporation. Finalists also interviewed with members of the Alliance’s executive committee.
“Janet is a talented charismatic leader, and will provide executive leadership, passion and vision for our new Charlotte Regional Business Alliance,” said Cureton. “She will help grow and build the most powerful, community relevant and business ready region in the country.”
“The Charlotte region has long been a leader in regional economic development, and I’m elated to shape the future of a market with an incredible appetite to be the best and where everyone can benefit from a prosperous economy” said LaBar. “My experience in the Portland and Phoenix metros promises that I’ll bring grit, passion and know-how to the Alliance and the Greater Charlotte region.”
At GPI, LaBar augmented the organization’s capabilities to provide its clients, investors and communities with more turnkey, highly sophisticated and professional economic development services. In addition, she led the planning process for Greater Portland 2020—the region’s five-year comprehensive economic development strategy. Focused on three core pillars of people, business and place, the plan is rooted in guiding principles of equity and advancement and has a goal of shared economic prosperity for all in the region.
“Janet has a proven track record of leading regional economic development organizations. Her passion for bringing together diverse perspectives to accelerate growth is world class. We welcome her leadership and energy to Charlotte,” added Weber.
LaBar started her economic development career in 2002 at the Center for Workforce Development at the Maricopa Community Colleges in Tempe, Arizona, where she managed research and communications for the districtwide Center. From there, LaBar spent a decade at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), serving in key positions including senior vice president of strategic integration, senior vice president of marketing and communications, and director of product improvement. Her rise at GPEC topped as chief performance officer, a role in which she oversaw day-to-day operations, organizational performance, strategic initiatives and action plans.
LaBar serves on Oregon Governor Brown’s Regional Solutions Advisory Committee, and Portland Mayor Wheeler’s Council of Economic Advisors. She is on the boards of United Way of the Columbia Willamette, OMSI, Portland Innovation Quadrant and Portland Business Alliance, and is a member of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from the University of West Florida and an MBA in marketing from the University of Phoenix.
Married and the mother of three elementary school age children, LaBar is eager to join the Alliance team in April.
“My family and I are thrilled about this new adventure in our lives,” said LaBar. “I’m excited to become part of the Charlotte region’s continuing success story – to amplify national and international exposure about what the region has to offer, while creating new jobs and opportunities for all.”
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